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Policy Bulletin 2023 / 4 Civil Law Policy: Complex Fines Work

14 Mar 2023

The Legal Aid NSW Board has approved the expansion of Civil Law Extended Legal Assistance (ELA) to include complex fine matters.


The Work and Development Order Service (WDO Service) at Legal Aid NSW was established in 2012 and operates as a state-wide service. The WDO Service provides general fines assistance, facilitates WDO placements for vulnerable clients and supports the implementation and expansion of the WDO scheme across NSW, with a focus on areas of high fines debt and social disadvantage.

The WDO Service has negotiated a mutual recognition protocol with Revenue NSW to streamline the assessment of some fines matters, however applications outside of the protocol often require the collection of evidence and drafting submissions for Revenue NSW to make a determination.

Complex fines work

Fines work outside the Protocol is often more complex which may involve representing the client on an ongoing basis, including going on the record with Revenue NSW. The complex fines work includes:

  • Write off  applications where the debt  is over $5,000
  • Internal  review applications which require an  objective assessment of the relevant legislation, taking instructions on the facts  of the client's matter, preparation of submissions to Revenue NSW and  obtaining supporting evidence in relation to the client's case
  • Orders for  Restitution debts which are  now collected by Revenue NSW. Limitation dates, acts of confirmation and requirements  for the validity of these orders can be complex and require careful  consideration of a client’s circumstances.

Complex fines work can now be conducted as an ELA service. ELA is an extended legal service where the solicitor can take carriage of a matter in an ongoing, representative capacity, but due to the nature of the matter it does not proceed to a court or tribunal.

ELA is available to the in-house practice only.

What has changed?

ELA is available to clients with complex fine matter who satisfy the eligibility criteria. For more details on the ELA eligibility requirements see: Policy Online – Extended Legal Assistance – Civil – Core Areas of Work – Complex fine Matters at 17.

Start date

The changes apply to applications received on and after 13 March 2023.

Contact for further information

The Client Eligibility Unit at:  T-CEU@legalaid.nsw.gov.au.